However, as emphasized by Tukiainen, philosophizing is also a solitary activity. In the schools of the late Antiquity, where philosophy was considered as a way of living and a practice of wisdom, this aspect of philosophy was prominent. Spiritual exercises were taught and recommended, and the philosophical teachings of a particular school could play a powerful and effective part in the daily life of the disciples only by means of their internalization.
In our world, which is quick-changing, increasingly complex and devoid, for so many people, of solid and living traditions to refer to - be they religious, spiritual or intellectual - it is often difficult to orient oneself. Therefore an important and challenging task for contemporary philosophical practitioners should be to encourage people to stop and think, to draw from the resources of their inner life, to learn to concentrate, analyze and clarify the problems they are faced with, and to develop their critical thinking. In order to nurture these inner dispositions and intellectual capabilities, solitude and silence, to be on one's own, "far from the madding crowd", is certainly helpful. However the hectic pace of daily life of most people does not foster the possibility to shelter, at least every now and then, in an inner hermitage-like situation.
In ancient India the ideal behaviour of the so-called third stage of life (which nowadays is called middle-age) was to retreat into the forest and meditate. After having fulfilled all his familiar and social obligations, men were free to withdraw from active life and devote themselves to their own spiritual progress. This ideal behaviour, which of course cannot be attained in the different historical and cultural context of modern society, may nonetheless show the importance of a solitary self-reflection, a practice which the philosophical practitioners should pursue for themselves and for those who address them.